Today, we’ll be lining up the brand-new PX-S5000 against an absolute titan of the class in the Roland FP-30X. This comparison was pretty much inevitable because of the fact that the price points are so close, but we were quick to find out that we really have two different beasts here aimed at two different audiences.
Casio PX-S5000 vs Roland FP30X – Sound Engine Comparison
Casio’s Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source
The Casio Privia PX-S5000BK is equipped with a very impressive default concert grand piano tone with the very well-rendered Hamburg Grand sample, originally used in their GP310 and GP510. You’ll also find this sample in the PX-S6000 and PX-S7000, and it’s a big step up from the default grand piano tone featured in PX-S1100.
In fact, we recently did a comparison video between the S5000 and S1100 so if you’d like to hear the difference for yourself, check out that video over on our YouTube channel.
We can definitely say that this is one of the better piano tones at the price point, so great job by Casio here. Polyphony is strong at 192 notes as well.
There’s also the Acoustic Simulator which allows you to access and edit a number of sound-related parameters like string resonance, damper resonance, damper noise, key on, key off, as well as effects like the Hall Simulator, reverbs, DSP effects and Surround Sound mode.
Roland’s SuperNATURAL Piano Sound Engine
The FP-30X introduced Roland’s new BMC chip which is able to extract much more out of the SuperNATURAL piano engine than what the Roland FP-30 was capable of. Polyphony is even stronger than the S5000 at a very impressive 256 notes.
The BMC chip is being used throughout the FP-X series with the FP-60X and FP-90X.
The piano sound is very dynamic and responds very well to changes in volume. You also have quite a bit of editing power via the Piano Designer App.
How do they Compare? Privia vs FP-X Series
When comparing these two piano sounds, and we’ve done this with a really good set of headphones on as well, the S5000 is doing a great job of creating a sense of true three-dimensional space. You can hear the hammers right in front of you, and it’s an overall very realistic impression of being behind a piano.
As you play each note, the AiR engine automatically starts to draw from different samples to bring out different aspects of the instrument hence the multidimensional morphing verbiage that implies that Casio has sampled the grand piano with more than just a basic stereo mic placement.
On the FP-30X, the impression that you’re given is that of a very complex tone surrounded by partials. Rather than being given a strong player’s perspective impression, it feels more like you’re an audience member hearing the piano sound coming at you.
I hope I’m describing this with some level of usefulness to people. But that’s really how I describe the two experiences of playing those pianos side by side.
Other Sounds – Electric Pianos, Synths, Organs
In terms of the number of sounds that are available to you on these two pianos, the overall quantity of core sounds is higher on the FP-30X as it has 56 presets compared to 23 on the PX-S5000, plus you can also access the entire GMII with the Roland Piano App via wireless MIDI connectivity.
The range of non-acoustic piano tones such as electric pianos, synths, and organs is stronger overall on the FP-30X, plus the larger range of sounds is a nice benefit as well. This isn’t a huge surprise given that Roland’s e pianos and synthesizers are usually very tough to beat.
When it comes to speakers, both pianos are utilizing a dual speaker system. The PX-S5000 has dual 8-watt built-in speakers, pointed out of the back of the piano. On the FP-30X, we’ve got two downward-facing 11-watt speakers for 22 watts of total amplifier power.
In terms of overall fullness and power, the FP-30X definitely has an advantage over the PX-S5000, and this is most apparent in the lower registers. When it comes to the high-end and overall clarity, the S5000 actually does a better job, and this could largely be attributed to the speaker position.
Keep in mind too that one of the reasons that Casio needed to keep the speakers from getting too big is because the S5000 offers the option to run on batteries, which is not available over on the FP-30X. The S5000 is also about 8lbs lighter which can be a pretty big deal to some people.
To summarize our comparison of sound, we think it’s fair to say that the FP-30X is bringing more to the table for a professional player as an affordable stand-in for a stage piano than the PX-S5000 is.
On the other hand, the pianos are very different from one another, and for someone who will do most of their playing with the default grand piano patch and also happens to prefer the tone of the S5000, it’s probably a no-brainer to lean in that direction.
Casio PX-S5000 vs Roland FP30X – Digital Piano Action Comparison
Casio’s Smart Hybrid Hammer Action Keyboard
The actions on these two instruments do not feel the same, and yet they are both very nice to play. The key action on the PX-S5000 is the new Smart Hybrid Hammer Action Keyboard, which is an evolved action design that comes out of the more entry-level version that was introduced with the PX-S1000 and PX-S3000.
The S5000 feels very different from the S1100 as a result, and we get quite into the weeds on those specific differences in our comparison of those two pianos. Long story short, the Hybrid Hammer action features wooden sides, improved cushioning, and some tweaked weighting. The pivot length and sensor technology don’t appear to be different, but this is a quieter and overall superior action to play on.
Roland’s PHA-4 Standard Keyboard Action
The FP-30X features the PHA-4 action from Roland, and this is a popular hammer action used on various musical instruments from Roland throughout their lineup.
This action features escapement, a triple sensor, and textured white and black keytops. It takes a little bit more force to get the key in motion than it does to keep the key in motion, which sometimes people love, and many others don’t actually notice.
How do they Compare?
The PHA-4 offers a little bit more control, especially in the lower end. It also has a longer pivot length than the Hybrid Hammer Action meaning that it feels more uniform regardless of where you play the key. For more advanced players, the PHA-4 will feel closer to the natural feel of an acoustic piano than the Hybrid Hammer.
The Hybrid Hammer however is a little bit quieter mechanically than the PHA-4, and it also happens to be very responsive with a very solid repetition speed. The textures on the white keys feel pretty similar (ivory feel), whereas it’s slightly more exaggerated on the black keys of the Hybrid Hammer.
Action Wrap Up
For people who are already fairly advanced players with a good amount of acoustic piano experience, odds are they’ll feel more at home on the PHA-4. If your piano teacher has you learning on an acoustic piano, this would apply to you as well.
For people who are self-taught or not particularly focused on getting classical technique together, the acoustic piano consideration isn’t all that relevant.
And if you like the S5000 otherwise, this is a very solid action that isn’t at all going to hold you back in any way.
Connectors – Audio In/Out, USB & MIDI
From a connectivity standpoint, these two pianos are quite well-matched. Both pianos have dual 1/4” line output jacks (L/MONO, R) for connecting to external amps and mixers, USB Type A and B (flash drive and computer port), dual headphone outputs, as well as pedal outputs for a damper pedal and a second one for an optional 3-pedal unit.
Both pianos offer both Bluetooth MIDI and Bluetooth Audio, though, in the case of the S5000, it’s by virtue of the WU-BT10 adapter dongle that comes included at no cost. Simply plug the adaptor in your S5000 is now outfitted with Bluetooth.
Both companies have their own compatible apps for iOS and Android- the Casio Music Space App and the Roland Piano App (recently replaced the Roland Piano Every Day App) – so real-time wireless connectivity is very welcome. Of course, 3rd party apps like Garageband are fair game as well.
Both pianos have a basic onboard MIDI recorder (MIDI files) and playback option, whereas the PX-S5000 is also capable of audio recording (WAV). That said, the FP-30X has a built-in USB audio interface so that’s a really nice feature for those looking for a production instrument.
Both pianos of course have built-in metronomes, transpose, twin piano, and other standard features like split and dual.
Accessories – Music Stands & Pedals
Both pianos come with a basic music stand (music rest for sheet music) at no extra charge as well as a sustain pedal, and of course, an owner’s manual. Both are also available with matching stands and triple pedal systems as well – the KSC-70 keyboard stand and KPD-70 pedalboard in the case of the FP-30X, and the CS-68 stand and SP-34 pedals in the case of the S5000.
To wrap everything up, in comparing the Casio PX-S5000 vs Roland FP30X, we’ve got two instruments that in some ways compare well and in others are actually quite different in terms of their overall specs.
In fact, the Casio PX-S3100 might actually be a more apt comparison for the FP-30X as it’s more geared towards being a performance-based instrument like the 30X, while the S5000 is very much a piano-centric instrument that also happens to be one of the most portable digital pianos around.
As always, we’ll stress the importance of trying to get into a showroom to demo these pianos out against one another if you can rather than simply ordering from Amazon, though of course not everyone has this option.
Thanks for reading!